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“Life changing experience !”
Review of Old Bailey

Old Bailey
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Ranked #419 of 1,674 things to do in London
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Reviewed November 28, 2012

Hello again Folks,

Please find our review of The Old Bailey. If it helps in anyway, please press the helpful button at the end. MANY THANKS.

We turned up adhoc on the morning of Monday 26th November, 2012. As you walk past the famous arches of the Old Bailey on your left hand side, downhill, there is a alleyway some 30 - 40 yards away, called Warwick Passageway. Its here where the doors open to the Public galleries at 10.00a.m.

Security is extremely tight as you can imagine. Cameras, phones, food or water are strictly prohibited. Because we arrived by chance, we were laden with all that I mention. A very kind lady in the queue, informed us that if we went back out of the alleyway, turned right up the hill, to the next t junction, more us less opposite is an Estate Agents, that will look after cameras / phones for a small fee. So off we went.

We popped into the Estate Agents and two cheery, kind, helpful guys took our two mobiles and camera, for the small fee of £3.00p. £1.00p per item obviously. They also give you a raffle ticket to be presented on collection.

Once back at the Old Bailey Public Galleries, the Court Clerks were very helpful and informative on the cases, their stage of progress and what would be happening that morning in each case. They did also state, that Monday mornings were usually the most active, in terms of a spectator perspective.

We did go into a murder trial and also a drug gang / money laundering trial.

Rightly or wrongly, on entering the galleries, I got the impression that Judges and Court professionals alike, were pleased to see us in attendance, as long as you abided by the rules. I thought this nice.

I felt an whole range of emotions as I sat there. Excited, scared, worried, intrigued and sorrowful. I felt slightly uneasy, that I was staring down at the accused behind glass partitions, as their lives were to be ruled upon, as I treated it as some form of entertainment for myself.

That said, I could have stayed all day and would return tomorrow. Not sure what to make of that really. It was free though and one memory I will never forget. I did really enjoy it overall.

Many Thanks

42  Thank Ruddstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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78 - 82 of 98 reviews

Reviewed November 4, 2012

As an American lawer, I found an afternoon observing a criminal trial at the Bold Bailey fascinating. It had many aspects of American urban courthouses -- overly tight security, slightly delapidated courthouse, new TV monitors for judge, jurors and attorneys to view evidence. The trial moved at a pace that might bore someone used to TV trials, but it was fascinating to this lawyer; I recognized and appreciated many of the details from American trials. And of course there were the differences: the defendant sitting not with his attorney but in a separated "dock" and of course the wigs and robes worn by judge, lawyers and court clerk. I enjoyed it very much.
Remember not to bring cameras or cell (mobile) phones or they won't let you in (they won't store them for you).

6  Thank Randell N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2012

I visited the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court) yesterday afternoon. I'd been intended to visit for years, but never got around to it. Yesterday, I had a meeting in the city and as I was walking back to the tube station, I just happened to walk past the door to the Old Bailey and decided to go in.

The first thing to say is that the door doesn't really jump out at you. It would be very easy to walk past without noticing it. The door is on Newgate Street, about 100m east of the intersection of Newgate St, Old Bailey and Giltspur Street. The door itself isn't large. There's a buzzer to the left of the door and you have to press this for security to open the door.

I would say that the security staff aren't really 'friendly', but that's not their job. They certainly weren't unfriendly. I turned up with a bag and they were very helpful in pointing me to a business (across the road) that would look after my electronic items for me while I was in the CCC building. I walked across the road and sure enough they were happy to hold my laptop, mobile phone and camera. £2 per item. It's a bit pricey but I'm sure that they could charge MUCH more if they wanted to.

I was actually allowed to take the bag (minus electronic devices) into the building. Security searched it (and me) and then let me in. I did not have to show any identification.

Once inside the building, I climbed a set of stairs (I seem to remember security telling me that there were 89 steps, but I'm not entirely sure about that), passed through a small waiting room, and then walked down a corridor where I found another security guard. There were two trials in progress, one in Court-1 and another in Court-4. I opted for Court-1 and he pointed the way. I simply walked into the public gallery midway through. You can enter or leave at any time.

The gallery is directly above the court. The judge is to the right, the witness stand is ahead and to the right, the jury sits directly ahead, the accused is to the left and the legal team (both defence and prosecution are directly below. I was surprised to see that they sit right next to each other.

One of the things that surprised me was how ponderously slow everything was. Clearly, the wheels of justice do not spin quickly in a court room. Both defence and prosecution seemed to ask the same questions, multiple times, with tiny nuance differences. I'm not sure if the objective was to trip up the witness, but unless he/she has a very low IQ, I can't imagine that it would trip them up.

I would definitely recommend a visit to the Old Bailey. It was interesting simply to see the room, but it was great to see justice actually in progress. It isn't at all hard to get in and provided that you're 'sensible and respectful' I can't see that you'll encounter any problems at all.

13  Thank Kokosun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

The first hurdle was that you cannot take ANYTHING like camera's and cell phones into the Gallery. They have no place to store anything and no one tells you that there is a small travel agency a little North of the entrance to the courts that for a feel will keep your belongings. We saw a murder trial but it was just the reading of the record. It was dull but the set up was interesting. Since my husband is a Judge we could compare how they went about things. After we walked out to retrieve our cameras etc. We spotted the arresting officer who spent a half an hour discussing what we saw. It was very interesting and he cleard up some of the things we couldn't understand. All and all it was a really good experience.

7  Thank Caroline A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2012 via mobile

I agree that the Old Bailey is not there to entertain tourists and needs to be treated with respect. I had never been to a court before and went to a murder trial. I was absolutely fascinated by all of it. It is somewhere that I would go again.

10  Thank Bev H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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